A leader in aftermarket printer consumables, Print-Rite has been trying to establish a foothold for its 3D printer line outside of Asia. On August 23, Print-Rite Europe took a step toward expanding the brand’s presence in Europe with the opening of its first 3D printing hub. “We are finding that 3D printing is still a developing industry in Europe, especially for consumers,” said Lucy Knight, sales and marketing support executive for Print-Rite Europe. “There is sometimes an imbalance between expectation and possibility, so it is important that we offer a more consultative as well as manufacturing service to assist our customers in meeting their expectations.”
Located at the company’s Nottingham, UK, headquarters, the 3D printing hub will offer printing services performed on Print-Rite’s CoLiDo brand 3D printers to a diverse range of customers, including hobbyists, small businesses, and manufacturers. Ms. Knight said that Print-Rite hub has received a request from a well-known car brand to produce a part. The hub will also sell CoLiDo 3D printers and supplies directly. “Our hope is that together with our new 3D hub we can increase awareness of both our brand and of 3D printing in general,” said Ms. Knight.
While Ms. Knight did not reveal any specific plans, she did say, “We would be delighted to be at the start of further development in Europe and potentially worldwide.” She added that she expected her colleagues at Print-Rite North America will explore offering a 3D printing hub of their own.
Print-Rite has been producing fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printers for several years, and it now offers a range of models and technologies. At the low end are the CoLiDo 3D Pen and CoLiDo DIY FDM printers aimed at the hobbyist. The company has several mid-range FDM systems aimed at the education and professional market. A resin-based digital light processing (DLP) printer offers higher resolution, and a large-format FDM printer rounds out the offerings.
Opening 3D printing services bureaus is a common and effective way to promote an OEM’s products and educate businesses and consumers on what 3D printing can do. Print-Rite Europe seems to be taking a cautious approach with only a single store at a location it already used as its headquarters.
This might work well as a learning experience for the company, and that’s a reasonable goal. If the company also expects the 3D printing hubs to make a positive financial contribution, Print-Rite may find it has to offer multiple stores in locations where the demographics and business mix are well-suited for 3D printing. It’s hard to know what Print-Right Europe’s long-term plans may be, but it is possible that this one 3D printing hub is just a small first step.